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Master's Program Handbook

601 - Student Records

601.1 – School Policies & Procedures in Accordance with FERPA

This statement is issued by Smith College School for Social Work in accordance with the United States Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended. The purpose of the act is to give students and former students access to their official records at the college, to provide an opportunity to correct inaccurate or misleading statements and to ensure that records are not released to unauthorized persons without the consent of the student.

According to the terms of the act, access may be provided to administrative officers and members of the resident, adjunct and clinical faculty who have legitimate interest; to certain specified agents of the government for the purposes of enforcement and study; to military personnel for recruitment purposes; and to other educational agents and institutions in connection with applications for admission and requests for financial aid. All authorized persons outside the college who request access will be required to file a written, signed statement of purpose; this statement will be kept on file and will be made available for inspection only to the student upon request.

Transcripts of or information concerning student records will be released to other persons outside the college only with the written consent of the student or upon subpoena, in which case the student will be notified. The act stipulates that the student's written consent indicates which records are to be released, the reasons for such release and to whom the copies are to be released. A copy of the material to be released may be requested by the student.

Certain information, designated as "directory information" may be released without consent. At Smith College, this information includes the following: name, home address (while in college), college address and telephone, email address, dates of attendance, major, degrees and awards, pictures, extracurricular activities (if known) and most recent previously attended college/s. A student or former student who is unwilling to have this information given to inquirers without consent should notify the Office of Academic Support Services annually in writing. In the case of former students, the college reserves the right to verify degrees.

Students' official records include records, files, documents and other materials containing information directly related to a student that are maintained by the college. They do not include notes kept by instructors, advisors, administrative personnel or deans for their own use and available to them only; such notes are maintained by individual administrators and are destroyed when no longer relevant or useful.

In communications with parents, we will assume that most students are not dependents. The School for Social Work will respect the privacy of the student and not disclose information from student education records without the prior consent of the student. At the request of the student, such information will be provided to parents and guardians.

Student records at Smith are described below. Procedures for students who wish to consult their records are as follows:

  1. Obtain an "access request" form at the Office of Academic Support Services. Complete the form and give it to a staff member in that office. The record will be available for inspection five work days after the date of the request.
  2. Requests to see records in the Career Development Office or Office of Disability Services should be made to each respective office.
  3. Students who have questions about their immunization records and the use of them are referred directly to the field office.

Questions concerning the files or requests for correction should be made in writing and left with the School for Social Work registrar or the director of the Career Development Office, in the case of CDO files, to be brought to the attention of the official in charge of the particular record. If the official in charge is not able or willing to make the correction requested, the case shall be brought to the registrar, associate dean and dean.

Official information is on file in the various Smith College School for Social Work offices as follows:

601.2 – Records Kept by the Office of Academic Support Services

Permanent academic records are maintained online, and hard copies are maintained in the Office of Academic Support Services in Lilly Hall or in College Archives. They are available to the student and to administrative officers and members of the resident, adjunct and clinical faculty of the school who have legitimate need for access.

The official transcript includes name, dates of attendance and notations of leave of absence or withdrawal, course numbers, titles, credits, grades, internship agencies and grades, thesis title, degree and date. Any credits transferred from other colleges toward the social work degree are also listed. Copies of transcripts ordered by students to be sent outside the college contain this information.

The permanent student file includes:

  1. Materials forwarded from the admission office at the time of acceptance: Student application form, transcripts from previous colleges attended, student's autobiographical statement and test scores (where applicable); and for advanced standing students, the employment experience form and case;
  2. Narrative evaluations and grades submitted by summer teaching faculty;*
  3. Petitions for waiver or transfer credit;
  4. Student learning contract for field internship;
  5. Faculty Field Advisor field visit reports;
  6. Community Practice Project evaluation;*
  7. Supervisor's final field evaluation for each year in the field;*
  8. Research project evaluation from student's research advisor;*
  9. Faculty Field Advisor’s final summary of student's field internships;*
  10. Correspondence and records regarding academic matters;
  11. Letters of nomination and/or records of thesis awards;*
  12. Notice of professional social work practice violations (if applicable);*
  13. Status change documents;
  14. Name change authorizations;
  15. Check-In packet sign-off;
  16. Intent to Graduate form;
  17. Directory Information release form (permanent if student graduates or withdraws with a directory hold in force);
  18. Special registration requests;
  19. Grade changes;*
  20. Final transcript* [paper copy kept in file as backup to electronic copy].

*Items that are kept indefinitely. All other items are destroyed five years after graduation or departure from the School.

Other academic records exist in electronic format and include identifying information about the student and the academic record. The data is accessible only to staff members. Lists of classes, geographical distribution, mailing labels and aggregate statistics are made available to authorized persons within the college community.

601.3 – Records Kept by the Student Financial Services Office

For students receiving financial aid, the Student Financial Services Office maintains a financial aid file containing the following information:

  1. Student's application form and all application materials;
  2. Financial analysis of the student's application;
  3. Award letters to the student from the Committee on Financial Aid;
  4. Source-of-Award letters to the student from the Committee on Financial Aid;
  5. Loan application material;
  6. Miscellaneous correspondence;
  7. Copies of student's and parents' (if applicable) tax forms;
  8. Student Agreement/Title IV Authorization Form.

This information is available only to the members of the Student Financial Services Office and the Committee on Financial Aid. Under the Rights and Privacy Act, the school cannot release to a student that portion of the financial aid application containing parental financial information, the financial analysis, or copies of the parents' tax forms. Information on students receiving financial aid is kept for five years after the student's graduation or departure from the school.

601.4 – Records Kept by the Research Office

For master's and advanced standing students, a research project file is maintained by the chair of the research sequence containing:

  1. Research advising visit reports written by the student's research advisor;
  2. Copies of correspondence between the chair, the Human Subjects Review Committee chair or the thesis coordinator and the student;
  3. Copies of Human Subjects Review materials sent to the school.

This file is kept for a period of three years after the student's date of graduation or departure from the school.

601.5 – Records Kept by the Field Office

  1. Immunization and other relevant medical records, if applicable, criminal background reports, if applicable, and field placement forms and materials are maintained by the field work department until the student's graduation or departure from the school.
  2. Materials related to any meeting of the Academic and Field Work Performance Review or Consultation Committee will be maintained by the field work department for seven years after the student's graduation or departure from the school.

Students may access these files by request; these materials are otherwise only used by SSW field faculty as relevant to the field placement process and except as noted above are kept until the student graduates or permanently leaves the program.

601.6 – Records Kept by the Career Development Office (CDO)

As of September 1, 2009, the Smith College Career Development Office launched its partnership with Interfolio, the premier dossier, credentials and online portfolio service. In order to maintain references from faculty to support future applications to graduate school or internships, you should contact Interfolio; information about their services can be found at here.


601.7 – Records Kept by the Office of Disability Services

This information is accessible to disability services office professional staff and deans:

  1. Disability identification form;
  2. Documentation of disability which has been submitted by the student;
  3. Correspondence with the student;
  4. Correspondence with faculty and other administrative offices which has been authorized by the student.

Updated 10/31/12